Over the weekend, the New York Times covered the would-be hosts of the 2014 Winter Olympics.
One of the hopefuls is Almaty. Their website is just a pretty picture at the moment, and here’s how the Times handicaps them.
WHAT IT HAS GOING FOR IT Planted high among the frozen peaks of the Tian Shan Mountains about a half-hour from Almaty (www.almaty2014.kz) is Medeo, a huge outdoor speedskating rink that was built in 1972. And though Olympic speedskating must be held indoors (the last time it was outside was in Albertville, France, in 1992), the rink is definitely worth a visit — but don’t forget your scarf.
WHAT IT HAS GOING AGAINST IT It’s a little hard to imagine American companies flying their favorite clients to Kazakhstan.
Almaty will be hosting the 2011 Asian Winter Games and will be pumping $1 billion into the area to develop it in advance of those games.
Georgia’s also trying to score the games, and Borjomi already has a snazzy website that says “The Olympiad will by all means be held in Georgia!” right up at top. Here’s what the Times has to say.
WHAT IT HAS GOING FOR IT This underdog (www.borjomi2014.ge) may have little to distinguish it from the other candidates, but at least you’re not likely to run into a neighbor in the lift line at nearby Bakuriani, the country’s oldest ski area.
WHAT IT HAS GOING AGAINST IT Though there are plans to develop the area, don’t expect to check in to the Borjomi W anytime soon.
Of the remaining cities on the list, there are plenty of the usual suspects–cities one may never have heard of in wealthy countries. I’m sure the odds are long for Almaty and especially for Borjomi, but it would be nice to see the games go to one of the two.